Strike it Rich The Financial Independence Gold Rush
I started out writing an article on being Mortgage Free, which will be coming another day, but during my research I came across the Klondike Gold Rush also known as the Alaska Gold Rush, and the Last Great Gold Rush to name a few. I am familiar with the Gold Rush in general with most of my knowledge being about the California Gold Rush. I’m not a history buff, but I do enjoy U.S. history and how America took form over the years. I started reading about the Klondike Gold Rush (I encourage you to read the summary, it will help you understand my article a little better, but it is not needed) and couldn’t get out of my head how similar the surge for Financial Independence has come across like a modern day gold rush, instead of traveling through the mountains and cold climate of Alaska, the FI journey is traveling through personal finance blogs and the over consumption of America.
I see many people have started their journey to Financial Independence in droves, we have heard from the likes of MMM and Jim Collins, ERE, CIRY on how it was accomplished, these are the people who gave us the original discovery that Gold could be found. Like many of the people who heard about these initial claims we have refocused our lives to search and discover or better yet prospect for Financial Independence. I couldn’t say it any better than those who started the stampede to riches, the journey for many proved to be too difficult to even arrive at the destination to find gold. I immediately thought of obstacles like debt, medical expenses, self-doubt, and a new focus of another adventure or lack of focus on the adventure at hand, much like the news of finding gold in Nome, Alaska. I don’t know what the next big boom of financial adventure will be for others, maybe other historical highlights like zero-down real estate, the tech-bubble, or buying and selling bit coin will lead others away from this search for Financial Independence. Maybe others will tire on the search for financial independence, it’s hard to say. Is the rush for Financial Independence just a rush to find that shiny object hidden in the rivers and mountains in Klondike?
It is no surprise that blogs about personal finance and financial independence have started up like a boom town, everyone rushing to stake their claim on a website to mine for gold. Some are out for the adventure and journey, while others are truly hoping that they do find gold, those out for the adventure are not disappointed by not finding gold, but realize that the journey is the real experience. If they find gold in affiliate marketing or Google adsense this is just an added bonus, not a life changer causing them to move to the rich side of town, but anyone who is part of the Even Steven Movement, would not buy the expensive house anyways because it could still cause us to break away from Even Steven.
Those who begin the journey for gold have very little experience in becoming Financially Independent, we are bankers, IT professionals, engineers, and managers. The only experience we can give is our own, not the entire book, but rather the introduction. We each share a personal story about how we bought an investment, cut our expenses, or paid off debt. It is like we have found a small nugget of gold along the way that we want to share with others to encourage others to continue their search for FI. I can hear the blogger now “Look it’s real I have saved $100 on my cell phone bill! Have you heard of MMM, yep he did it, he hit FI and has never looked back.” Successful mining of gold takes time. I have learned that paying off debt, cutting expenses, and creating passive income takes time. Not only the path to FI, but creating a website on your journey and the gold you hope to mine from a click on a banner or a purchase of a cell phone or a book by the same means.
Much like the routes to Klondike, there is not simply just one way to Financial Independence. Routes were taken by land and by sea, but travel in general was made difficult by both the geography and climate. The region was mountainous, the rivers winding and sometimes impassable per the overview from Wikipedia. We may take many paths including the route of stock investments, but the winding river of the stock market going up and down with volatility is not for the faint of heart and those who have not prepared for the long journey. Dividend investments can be a long climb to the top, where our dividends are greater than our expenses. Real estate many see as impassable due to the high upfront costs and property management that goes along with it. Those paths were the most common, but like the prospectors searching for gold, we have all taken allegiance to our investment of choice some of us even blog and write only about real estate and dividend stocks. What the prospectors did was choose All-Canadian or All-American routes which avoided certain customs on each side and showed patriotism towards their home country, very similar to my mention of real estate as my FI investment of choice.
Life in Klondike
The massive influx of prospectors drove the formation of boom towns along the routes of the stampede, with Dawson City in the Klondike the largest. The new towns were crowded, often chaotic and many disappeared just as soon as they came. Most stampeders were men but women also traveled to the region, typically as the wife of a prospector. Some women entertained in gambling and dance halls built by business men and women who were encouraged by the lavish spending of successful miners.
The above statement from Wikipedia sounds a lot like the personal finance blogosphere, it may seem crowded, but many have stopped posting and only exist as Google search. I do no think there are more men than woman bloggers, in fact I think it’s pretty even, but you will see many PF bloggers talk about their husbands and wives in general context. Some entertain not by gambling or dancing but by writing posts or creating ideas for the blog. We are all encouraged by the likes of those successful bloggers like J.D. Roth selling his blog for a lump sum, Pat Flynn sharing his passive income success, and many others who share that they have indeed been successful miners, finding gold.
Will we see the decline of Financial Independence or the decline of Personal Finance blogs? Will the new Gold Rush be podcasts like Financial Samuari and Radical Personal Finance(I still need to listen to this one). Has everything dried up and moved away from our boom town?
I’m not sure I have the answer to these questions, do you? Will we reach financial independence or complete our debt payoff journey? I have a plan and a course of action to get me to my desired destination of Financial Independence. Many things could happen along the way and I’m prepared to share each step. Many bloggers offer sound financial advice and share great personal financial stories that get you motivated. Others offer money saving tips and ways to cut expenses to become Even Steven. I hope everyone takes a little advice from everyone and decides what is right for them and what they think is logical and makes sense. My desire is for everyone to reach their goals, to get a little nugget of gold from Even Steven Money and maybe even Strike it Rich with Financial Independence.